This is the beginning of the end of the recruitment process...but be under no illusion this is where you either realise the investment in time and money you have made in this process - or you end up with an expensive mistake.
The good news is the choice is largely yours!
First and foremost remember the interview is a two process – the best candidates will more than likely have more than one option...so do your own homework and be ready to sell both the role and your company. Ask yourself a few simple questions beforehand – Why would someone want to work here rather than say your competition? What makes your company a great place to work? What four or five key words summarise your corporate values?
Now the other key thing to do, is pretty obvious but often overlooked – be organised! Are all the right stakeholders available, have you got everything properly set up, has any and all equipment been tested etc. Do not be the John Cleese of the interview world; having to chase interviewers up ten minutes before the candidate arrives and not knowing the role in detail are clearly “no no’s”!
One final point on preparation – ensure everyone has read the CV. You will expect the candidate to have done his homework on you – so it’s only fair everyone involved your side has done the same....BUT also be ready to interview without it. Though this is a contradiction the point I am trying to make is be ready to try to get to know the candidate and not just their career.
Start the interview with a brief intro of everyone in the room. Giving a candidate a clear steer on who everyone is and why they are in the room is key, but also make sure you quickly outline the process and the structure of the interview. Knowing what is to come will put the candidate at ease and obviously enable them to show you everything they have got to offer – which after all is what you want to achieve.
It’s vital that everything you do in the interview needs a purpose – lots of people jump in with whacky challenges “to see how someone reacts to pressure”. There is nothing wrong with this at all so long as it has a purpose.....asking someone to “sell me my pen” is all well and good, (though a little long in the tooth!).....but only if it has relevance to the role you are interviewing for!
As you go through the process of interviewing candidates a common mistake to avoid is a lack of consistency. You need to be able to effectively benchmark everyone who comes in – to do so at the very least ensure that you are consistent in the questions you are asking! I would recommend that you develop a core set of key or “killer questions” that as a minimum you ask everyone.
An old favourite of mine is to ask them “what they have done to prepare for the interview?” – if they say anything that sounds like “nothing” I wrap it up there and then. No matter what the role is you want some commitment to show they want the job!
So far we have spoken here predominantly about the measurable skills that can be questioned and probed. However it is vital that you still in a measured way factor in your instincts on people and remember if their first impression to you is poor – then what will it be like to much harsher judges namely your customers and the other people in your business whom they will be working with.
By way of a wash up your role in the interview is to facilitate and measure. You want a candidate to shine and show you what they can offer – but by the same token you want this to be in a realistic situation – if a role is going to be pressurised, you need to create that sort of environment in the interview in your questioning...and obviously the same is true if the role is technical in its nature.
Know all the key factors for success in performing the role you’re interviewing for and be ready to measure them – in a consistent and objective fashion. (An old and effective trick here is to build a list of questions by interviewing your existing star performers – you’ll often be surprised as to what they tell you it takes to succeed in the role!).
This is the beginning of the end of the recruitment process...but be under no illusion this is where you either realise the investment in time and money you have made in this process - or you end up with an expensive mistake. The good news is the choice is largely yours!
Finally remember one last thing – let them talk! If you get the listening balance right and let the candidate speak freely then the more you will be able to learn about the candidate on all fronts....meaning one thing.....you get even closer to making the right decision for your business!
Next week we’ll look at the last piece of the jigsaw, managing the offer and the induction.
Missed the previous posts? Well I first gave advice on how to make time to properly define the role, then gave guidance on where to post your vacancy, followed by some steps to follow when reviewing CVs and performing pre-interview checks.
Chris Smith is the founder of yourpeoplemarket.com a game changing, free to use, fixed fee recruitment marketplace – where you can engage with agencies at a fee you set or less and only ever pay on success.
Before this Chris was Joint Founder of ecrmpeople, which over a seven year period he took from being a start-up to a £12m company.